Document Type


Publication Date



The following essay is the pre-editing draft of the introduction to a paper delivered at a Mass Torts conference held at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in November 1999. Thc conference grew out of the work of the ad hoc Mass Torts Working Group that on February 15, 1999, delivered a Report to the Chief Justice of the United States and the judicial Conference of the United States. The Working Group, chaired by Third Circuit Judge Anthony J. Scirica, '65, included members drawn from several Judicial Conference committees, including the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and from the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. The Working Group held four public meetings that in all were attended by 81 lawyers, judges, and academics. The models that are discussed in the body of the paper were prepared to stimulate the discussion at these meetings and were set out in the Report appendices. Little need be said about the models themselves. They do not purport to resolve the dilemmas sketched in the introduction. To the contrary, they are designed to underscore the intransigence of the problems that arise from efforts to resolve substantial personal injury or extensive property damage by a substantially common course of conduct. Asbestos and silicone gel breast implants provide the most familiar models, but there have been many others and are likely to be many more.